Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this The Merchant of Venice study guide. Instead of lending money interest-free he applies collateral and conditions to the bond. According to the Essays in Shakespearean Criticism, “ “Gentle” in all its tricky ambiguity: as meaning something purely external (well-born; Christian) as well as kind, generous, loving…. Ultimately, it is safe to say that religion in Venice took the role of judge, and that is, Christ, as its supreme judge. The conflict between Shylock the Jewish moneylender and Antonio the Christian merchant in Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice" is both religious and economic. In Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice,” religion was more than a belief in a higher being; it reflected moral standards and ways of living. In its portrayal of a bloodthirsty Jewish moneylender, the play famously dramatizes 16th-century racial stereotypes that … As the Jewish representation of Venice, Shylock, “as a usurer, refuses to lend money interest-free in the name of friendship.” (Bevington, pg. Race and Religious Intolerance Exhibited in “The Merchant of Venice”. Mowat, Barbara A., and Paul Werstine. Without the Anti-Semitic views, the elopement plot and the bond plot would not be in existence. The main plot involves a Jewish moneylender and his Christian debtor. In the “Merchant of Venice,” “a Christian ethic of generosity, love, and risk-taking friendship is set in pointed contrast with a non-Christian ethic that is seen, from a Christian point of view, as grudging, resentful, and self-calculating.” (Bevington, pg. Portia on the other hand teaches the audience the practice of the New Testament. The plot of The Merchant of Venice has been described as a great commentary on the nature of racial and religious interactions. Regardless of these pleas, Shylock demands a pound of Antonio’s flesh and God ruling vicariously through Portia allows Shylock to proceed with his rightful bond. Print. Shakespeare provides his audience distinct differences between Antonio and Shylock. But mercy is above this sceptred sway, this was followed by a 1619 printing, and later an inclusion in the First Folio in 1623. He helps his loved one by borrowing money from Shylock and pawns his life to strengthen that bond. Rather, modern critics call the play ‘Anti-Semitic‘, i.e., against the Jews.Shylock, … “It can be argued that this goes back to the earliest days of Christianity, when the tradition began of making the Jews bear the guilt of the Crucifixion. Shylock and Jessica’s conversion to Christianity or the New Testament of love, mercy, and grace, indicate the power Christianity had in law and in love. Different characters have different religions. Get Your Custom Essay Sample. Danson, Lawrence. According to the “Harmonies of the Merchant of Venice”, “the essential thing added to the law by Christ is forgiveness. Stephano – a servant of Portia 9. Religion was a major factor in a number of Shakespeare’s plays. Great Britain: Yale University Press, 1978. These are the main themes in the story MOV> MERCY This theme is spread throughout the play. The Merchant of Venice is a 16th-century play written by William Shakespeare in which a merchant in Venice named Antonio defaults on a large loan provided by a Jewish moneylender, Shylock.It is believed to have been written between 1596 and 1599. The main religions in this play is Christianity and Judaism. The attribute to awe and majesty, Apparently, all sides agreed to this racial and religious separation, creating division, strife, and anger. In The Merchant of Venice, Judaism and Christianity aren't just religions—they're constructed as racial (and even national) identities as well. Haven't Found an Essay You Want? 3. The bond does say he can have a pound of flesh, however a pound it has to be exact. Reality and Idealism. Venice, where this drama takes place, is a largely religious Italian City. Wherin doth sit the dread and fear of kinds: However, this back fires on him. Venice was primarily and dominantly a Christian society with Jews as it’s unfairly treated minority. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. Lastly, Shylock’s daughter Jessica is another representation of conversion from the Old to the New Testament. The main Christian characters are Antonio, Bassanio and Portia. Religion is one of the main theme in the merchant of Venice and it plays a big role in the play. If Jessica were Christian, Shylock would have embraced the marriage of Lorenzo and Jessica. Money: The other major theme in the play is the importance of money to the Christians. 74) Although Shakespeare writes this drama from a Christian point of view he illustrates religion by conflicts of the Old Testament and the New Testament in Venetian society and its court of law. Shylock is representative of the Old Testament. "�6̫ÌZ{v%n IxĮ��#/g+@���D��?� F���ń�M;U:���CqQF��O~���LT�ja�!��s l`pCYi_�X��v�g�� �x��j����\H5]w��M��4���J���єOE��]����w�a���*���ڳ�˲��]�r,�磐#5p�I�g^�t̅�(�;%�_o���L�� H*��7�%��>�ˉ~�Nc�|��U(f����B��elC���#�Zl��(#uY`�J�>���S6zi�ϲ��(�c�M�i+�o$���i�!> �����a �|K�>XU��=�O��'�K��"n�E�+Ljs1\o�܎7�Iґ��xèe�%Z�l DISCLAIMER- The answer is too long and has 2000 words please read only if you have time. According to Jessica, “I shall be saved by my husband. Christianity and Judaism in The Merchant of Venice Religion has always been a rather touchy subject in literature as well as in day to day life. Mercy, therefore, is made part of the law, rather than an opposing principle. The Anti-Semitic views in The Merchant of Venice play an important part in the novel. Longman Publishing Group , 2008. The bond’s fine print expresses that if Antonio cannot fulfill his debt to Shylock, Shylock will receive a pound of Antonio’s flesh. Throughout medieval and early Renaissance Europe the prejudice bred dark fantasies: Jews were accused, for example, of conducting grotesque rituals in which they murdered Christian children and drank their blood. The main religions in this play is Christianity and Judaism. In conclusion, we can see how powerfully influential religion was in “The Merchant of Venice.” Love, forgiveness, and most importantly mercy, represented the New Testament whilst justice, lack of mercy, and adherence to the law represented the Old Testament. Shylock is expected to show mercy when he is never shown any by the ruling class. Thus, Shylock’s “Jewish heart” who’s hunger for justice resulted in his own justification, will be introduced to mercy and he shall see salvation. Religion is one of the main theme in the merchant of Venice and it plays a big role in the play. “we have good reason to suppose that the language of Shakespeare’s source begged the question of gentility; we know that it begged the question of Christianity.” (Calderwood, pg. In the play ‘The Merchant of Venice’ by William Shakespeare, according to a number of characters, there is a prominent aura revolving around the themes of love and hate. Merchant Of Venice Shylock Character Analysis. Antonio however, showed how “Christian” he is. �gd����]��2װe��|H�nhMjzݾ�9��c2J�o�ﹾ�l_��E�w��9���� �0�F:*�@{e�I��~�qF ���HmA���T�� s�� Religious Discrimination in The Merchant of Venice The Merchant of Venice is a play by William Shakespeare. The cross between Christianity and Judaism begins as Antonio and Shylock create a legally binding bond. This idea has not lost its importance even in the modern days, and that is why we come back to the play The Merchant of Venice = over and over again. November 16, 2016. The Literary Companion Series: The Merchant of Venice. He truly has a skill, of creating unique characters that, create controversy, and give reasons for people to discuss and debate. Thus doing so will spare Antonio’s life. @ٞ�~ s0���~�!��X+ţ �O����"`z��Eɭ���O�`�N�,~�%�l��ǰ��K�(���� � ����� ���o�[24#�-z����ae}�UA5�$XkG� . The Venetians in The Merchant of Venice almost uniformly express extreme intolerance of Shylock and the other Jews in Venice. Religion, however, intervenes and causes Shylock’s anger at his daughter. Merchants like Antonio lend money free of interest andput themselves at risk for those they love, whereas Shylock agonizesover the loss of his money and is reported to run through the streetscrying, “O, my ducats! Conflict Between Shylock & Antonio in "The Merchant of Venice". Christians believed in mercy while Shylock only sought justice. Calderwood, James L. Essays in Shakespearean Criticism. Gratiano, Solanio, Salarino, Salerio – friends of Antonio and Bassanio; Christian 4. Because of religious differences and discrimination, the story becomes violent and somewhat dark. The play also reveals the double standard under which Shylock lives and the despicable nature of the Christians’ hatred. Although he asks Shylock to convert, he provides Shylock and opportunity. While marriage customs have changed over the years, Shakespearian critics, when arguing “The Merchant of Venice”, agree that racism and religious intolerance are blaring principles when examining the marriages of Portia and Bassanio and Jessica and Lorenzo. Stereotypes classified Jews as immoral, evil, and foolish people while the Christians were graceful, merciful, and loving. The Theme of Money and Love ,�5��43�'sh��|��2[մy�"U�o��z";�Z�eO���, ZZ�S�۪�\ʧ��}v����q�����Fzj�-�k�����O�*���m�ʋ�m��,��Ei9�����sT�aYc2��y+ �e���UI8�Z(��fH�i�h���"�(4v`! Ironically, she as well breaks a bond with Shylock. The story of a Jew who wants a pound of Christian flesh may have its roots in these fantasies of Jews violating Christian bodies.” (Mowat, pg. Shylock on the other hand is not put on the same pedestal as Antonio. KS3 English The Merchant of Venice learning resources for adults, children, parents and teachers. 70) Shylock goes forth to all extent, refusing double the amount of ducats owed to him as long as he has his bond. The main idea of the play is that all people deserve to be appreciated regardless of their religion, race, nations, or beliefs. Religion motivated action and reasoning. Here in this play The Merchant of Venice Shakespeare portrays two main characters for the two edges as Shylock represents his religion Judaism, on the other hand, his enemy Antonio is presented as a representative of Christianity. Nerissa – her waiting-maid 7. Representing the Christian belief is Antonio who is summoned to court by a Jew who goes by the name Shylock. Justice with his bond. � �}�r�F�����w�pk#�,��7i*WV��ر�R��I�\C`H�.�Ȫ�kܪs���Su_c%Or�{f����]���$0����_�4�G_|�����o��q: V����W�)�$��,�OE����t�=?��h�`�ayiGkb���I�d�^���E��t�L������� i�D���؟%�ֻgq�3)ғ`"�,]˯_��+.�/�8������(}�TD"����M�$>��k�0�~���7Cw"�����H���}����M�f�算��'��#p}�6�{�p-]��iO�R\ॲ��&��wG"�W���>��O�Zy�X���˺덃��.����}��tC�ұ������2���x,D*{8��ߠC5��q"��(�H#��9;o4�]�;� Ёc�A$E�>�8ka3����n�y`b#`,-Xַ�Z��eTc6��P��K����������u������E��"�t����+-L~xR�bD��g�l �\�Y�6����C&Χq�ʯ������(�_��]: This has never been done before 252-253) Here Shakespeare questions Shylock’s Christian morality and his ability to practice the New Testament. The conflict between the Christians and Shylock reaches its peak over the issue of the extent of mercy. First, we see Antonio, a soft-hearted and morose Christian gentleman whose riches cannot provide him the fulfillment that others deem appropriate. In no way can I find Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice promoting religious harmony. It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes. Self-interest forms the basis of every relationship, whether it is related to friendship, marriage or trade. This powerful line suggests those who give mercy will receive mercy. The theme of bonds and promises referred to in the above question plays a key role in the ‘The Merchant of Venice’. Beginning from 1558 and lasted in 1603 Elizabethan Age was the main period of religious and politics and important playwriters and poets from the society were introduced. “This was a punishment from Shylock’s point of view, … but from Antonio’s point of view, it also gave to Shylock a chance of eternal joy.” Antonio here believes Shylock can be saved. Religion was a major factor in a number of Shakespeare’s plays. Shylock strictly follows the Old Testament of law and is determined to receive justice. �_��Dbƾ˺��������g��v�媮�����U�ժ͕�p�\+כ~����_�j�˰��װ���{Fdy}�$����_Y��Tv76f��;�iܟ�I��(�� However, Antonio interjects and bargains that Shylock should live if he turn a Christian. é��Y�������J-%�{��ѡ4�^�B�v$�X�&�7���v� ��]wU�x'��8 U ϝ�"s8�jō�KE]O�����L@O�R� The first example we see this is in 1: 3 when Shylock reveals his hatred for Antonio for his religion, Christianity. In the first two acts of the play, Merchant of Venice, Shylock, a Jewish money lender, is a villain in which we should be aware of. Antonio is a merchant, whose chief aim is to enjoy his wealth and to make it assist others. This passage and the passage from the Duke is asking for Shylock although a Jew, to act Christian. ����. Such a response speaks to the religious intolerance in Venice at the time. In Act Four, Scene 1, the Duke says, “We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.” (Bevington, pg. Mercy depicts a large part of this play, mercy is one of themes that ends it. Portia – a rich heiress 6. This reinforced bondage reflects Antonio’s selflessness, God-like quality, and most importantly Christian morality. When mercy seasons justice. The Christian characters certainly viewthe matter this way. The drama Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare was first printed in 1600 in quarto, of which nineteen copies survived. More importantly we the audience also sees the New versus the Old testament put in similar contrast with Christianity and Judaism. As learned in the play, Antonio cannot repay his debt and Shylock publically exclaims his need to receive fulfillment of that bond. Concluding the court scene, Venetian law requires Shylock to give up half of his property to the state, the other to Antonio, and give up his life. God gives mercy and those who can wholeheartedly give mercy is God-like. |�&����K�W�7�����5%ͼfwU1n�iQ�\}v����y����J�GK��p�2�,��oX*`���X�W|/�R�" The clash between Christianity and Judaism is especially present in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.The character of Shylock is often ridiculed for his faith, to which he retaliates with some strong points. “He rigidly adheres to his “bond”, in strict accordance with the Mosaic principle of “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” (Swisher, pg. Religion in The Merchant of Venice By: Bernadette, Sam, and Jules Parsons was a Jesuit missionary, sent to England with the mission to convert Protestants Addressing Queen Elizabeth -You are torturing people for not going against their consciences. Shylock’s need for justice and strict adherence to the law parallels the Old Testament greatly and in a Christian point of view, it was at his disadvantage. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, INC., 1970. The Duke asking for a “gentle” answer was not a way to dismiss Shylock’s bond, but it was merely asking Shylock to bring forth his mercy and forgiveness as a Christian would. =�&��BЖL���s �3�X(�t7�G&;�'@v��������3��V�ui �t�qg�պ��m��]T�L�p��o�����u�{�n^��@@�9џR���V��L�e~A�f�҉�ufR��>\Cnu�����v�";�Cux�'A8�"���;1co� �V��D��&���m�����1����,0Y3�1�aԎ�I�U��e"�"b��Q����3�AjB5*W�)jN�����=^{�{��L��h5l ��}��������8l8(]�{I� H�ݡ��r�t�ނƝ�鹥ϕ9�!�j���!N��]rQ3�͝����e;�M��^T�� �m!��瀎-�~��s�Q�s���=��z��V>-�jQL�Ht�$\���BC�B��b0�?� �nP#��}ˍ�Ρa�yA�ӝB�jw�S���}*SA�PS�K�.�h�>�sJ�<3���~�8o/���e�]'���"���4�[մ�:iVÝk¯��~��GMp����u}�z���G.�V���E� �H�+ธr��q"/�X L��Q�Ӫ����1Q �W۸�$Z�:��.�� The Harmonies of The Merchant of Venice. ... (by Play and Theme… \�;J~nc�@� This bond would be a father-daughter bond. The New Testament which embodies grace, mercy, and forgiveness. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. It is enthroned in the hearts of kinds, The court scene where Shylock goes to complete the sentence of his bond is where he will be introduced to the conflict of justice and mercy. Religion motivated action and reasoning. Here Shylock is stuck between a rock and a hard place. It is an attribute to God himself: The religious opinions of both Again, Shakespeare highlights acts of the New Testament. The throned monarch better than his crown: 1. Indeed mercy, or forgiveness, becomes the legal principle enabling all other legal principles.” (Danson, pg. 1. (4.1.182-195). Portia says, “ The quality of mercy is not strained, O, my daughter!” (II.viii.15).… Swisher, Clarice. ‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest, it becomes On the surface, the main difference between the Christiancharacters and Shylock appears to be that the Christian charactersvalue human relationships over business ones, whereas Shylock isonly interested in money. The majority of stories have a hero or heroine, as does "the merchant of Venice" by William Shakespeare, in some ways most of the main characters, bar Shylock, could be perceived as a hero. Print. It is twice blessed: LitCharts Teacher Editions. ��{��D���8����|������uY���&-��٧A Perhaps, Portia here also tries to provide mercy onto Shylock himself. Also, Christians of the time looked at Jews with negativity. These Testaments are tested through the Christians and Jews of Venice. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. After all the play is actually named after Antonio, he is the merchant of Venice. The main Christian characters are Antonio, Bassanio and Portia. This sample provides just some ideas on how this topic can be analyzed and discussed. The following academic paper highlights the up-to-date issues and questions of The Bond The Merchant Of Venice. 71). 65) In this case, Shylock was overturned by this Christian government for his lack of mercy or forgiveness. He represents law and justice. The Necessary Shakespeare. 214-215) All Jews were blamed for Christ’s death. He hath made me a Christian.” (3.5.17-18) Jessica being “saved” by her husband can be compared to Shylock’s conversion to Christianity. Print. As Antonio confesses the bond, Portia is stating that Shylock “must be merciful” which greatly represents practice of the New Testament. Assuming Shylock should turn Christian, this image hints conversion from the Old to the New Testament. ��R�t���ʣ %��4�(n�ϜȊ�%�d �]>LEr��a�t��u�=��yqsI���Fo��*�m�-&� OFA�m1w~Mc ����< �ĥ;�p�{�q��pf �^XG���]�R��;���ݻ �fi���ĉ/�n{z�d���Y�Ŗؾ���;��4���Z�#} ]uvv�z8�O���w!,Q�M����w�U��8�"�ٍ�fL�&�tB��p:,�nQ3ߺD��T�^��8q�q LL��hW�Dv����4H��Iò�,x��~�4AcF��p�}&S�W{�ջ�gMP�Is�n�7���@�� (z3����$��,�0Kۛ�P#%�K}�����4��.��2���Z�.�$�A/��,��qww;��I��8��,�͑P��NKbS}���c�|�\,W�jo�sg�e �^-+v?^����Pd�[����1O�H���������(Q��=uC�O�x��u�Ab�)���;"���I%2r6���v��g�/��>�S{�ݱ&u���Ƃz��5A�� �lm�V��Zb�~�SS����n����K2�����cnn����� s�s�(ׯx�{J]��4d�̅fs��#*Ǡ����&��# ��� %(�G:�I_�9�g�2�Φ��H��47��_���‹N��_���..���,��� ��䢤���h_Cpv��ze�I�:�Ld��vK�ޫ\�3��-cI�*�VT��LD�W9�ZmZ��jb.+���� ,. “Jessica, as the “daughter of Jerusalem” under the Old Law, then as the bride of Christ under the New” (Swisher, pg. ��P�W�wq��ay���2C����"����Mq*X` ��T�f^�)���YДpLm ��LS2�C��0��G��mE׀�r���+�'{��wo�-r���z����V��� 6�g��S���E��l�Ї��_z+�w����k��,H�/]���2X��\��`�߉K����y�0m�.M2�� In the courtroom scene of Act 4, scene 1, both the Duke and Portia present mercy as a better alternative to the pursuit of either law or revenge. This act of bonding puts Antonio in gracious light. Shylock– a rich Jew… The drama of The Merchant of Venice is a legendary comedy, ... has nothing to do with the dogmas of religion, but with the effects of religion as realized in daily life. Instant downloads of all 1383 LitChart PDFs (including The Merchant of Venice). Unfortunately, the manner which he seeks Antonio’s flesh seems similar to the “grotesque rituals in which Jews murdered Christian children.” With Shakespeare thickly drawing the line between Christianity and Judaism we can ultimately assume that the bond between Shylock and Antonio, a Christian and a Jew, can only cause a great deal of controversy. In Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice,” religion was more than a belief in a higher being; it reflected moral standards and ways of living. Portia knows that Shylock demands every aspect of his bond but she tries to plea with him anyway. Lorenzo – friend of Antonio and Bassanio, in love with Jessica; Christian 5. Antonio - a merchant from Venice; Christian 2. For Shylock, his justice seeking could not enable him to provide the mercy asked by God and thus was eventually lead to his own demise. His scepter shows the force of temporal power, He was looked at by Christians as a violent and corrupt individual. It is the court scene where we are confronted with Christian values and how it played a significant role in Venetian courts and most importantly in Shylock’s fate. Merchant Of Venice Analysis Essay 867 Words | 4 Pages. To answer the question “Is the play a plea for religious tolerance?” in short, I would say ‘No’. Though usually depicted as a homosexual relationship, it is a portrayal of love between friends or brothers, another type of bond. Balthazar – a servant of Portia 8. And earthly power doth then show likest God’s Print. He is sad because he lacks love. 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